The Guatemalan capital Guatemala City is home to the marvelous Palacio Nacional de la Cultura (National Palace of Culture). The historical building is situated at the north side of the central square and is already the third palace constructed at this same place. Its location dates back to the classical town planning from the colonial era. The architectural style is a mix between colonial architecture influenced by Spanish baroque and Spanish renaissance, also referred to as Hispano-Guatemalan Renaissance. The building is known for its green colour resembling the one of an avocado.
The Palacio Nacional de la Cultura was built under the reign and dictatorship of Jorge Ubico, a former president of Guatemala. The first stone for the building was set in 1937. The real construction started in 1939 and was finished at Jorge Ubico’s birthday, the 10th of November 1943. However, Jorge Ubico never really used the building himself, as six month after its inauguration, the president resigned due to the political opposition and the discontent of the population. Being initially a governmental building, today it is dedicated to diverse artistic activities and is owned by the Culture and Sports ministry.
To visit the inside of the building, you need to take a guided tour starting every hour, which is included in the entrance fee. After you get through the security check, you will be surprised by the grandeza of the interior and the splendor of its decoration. It is a symmetrical building with a central body and two lateral buildings, each one with one patio. It is a three story building and at both sides, impressive stone staircases lead to the upper floors. Walking up the stairs, you can study the huge mural paintings by the artist Alberto Gálvez Suárez, which tell the history of Guatemala from its colonization to its independence.
The building counts 350 salons in total. The most attractive one is the ‘Salón de Recepciones’ (the reception room), which contains a two-ton heavy crystal candelabrum adorned with four quetzal figures bathed in gold. In this room, the huge image of a star marks the kilometer zero of Guatemala. The soft interior illumination in the open hallways comes from the two Moorish style patios at both sides of the structure. The green plants in the patio give a refreshing air to the building and in the background you can hear the quiet chop of the fountains. The house also holds changing exhibitions in the ground floor, mainly featuring Guatemalan artists.
The building is located right at the Central Square, Plaza Constiticional